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Chinese sci-fi fans divided over Netflix's '3 Body Problem'

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By Luna LIN

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Spearheaded by the team behind megahit series Game of Thrones...

That's all we need to know. Hard pass.

-18 ( +0 / -18 )

And if not that, then

it changes the genders of some of the key characters

is enough to give it a pass.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

Chinese people like many other Asian countries have no problem being racist against other people especially people of African descent. Now that they perceive themselves as being treated like Black people, it is a problem.

"It is not a problem, until it happens to you!"

One Chinese reviewer likened the series to "a plate of General Tso's chicken", a Westernised Chinese dish that can be used as a metaphor for inauthenticity and cultural misunderstanding.

Interesting but accurate description of appropriation!

Many commenters questioned the motive behind the decision to keep the villain Chinese while the heroes are mostly played by Westerners.

Once again, welcome to be treated like Black people. Has anyone noticed all the Black people in the new DC movies and Disney Star Wars on Disney+ shows being promoted as the main antagonist to all the White protagonists?

That being said, I enjoyed the series despite the plot holes.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

The show starts in the 1960s, with an ugly scene from the Cultural Revolution in which a physicist is killed by a mob for refusing to disown key scientific theories.

This is the key event that motivates one of the primary characters to set the entire story in motion. I read the first book in the series recently - the concept is excellent, the Cultural Revolution stuff is very interesting but the translation is poor in places and the book is way too long.

Spearheaded by the team behind megahit series Game of Thrones

Two good series followed by a shambolic descent into comical self-parody by the end.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I really enjoyed the first season, and I'm looking forward to more.

Spearheaded by the team behind megahit series Game of Thrones...

That's all we need to know. Hard pass.

They did great with Game of Thrones while they had source material. This series is complete.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Have just finished the book and I have to say that the things that made it interesting for me and familiar to Chinese readers are the locations, characters and character interactions.

I have only seen the trailer for the Netflix's series, but have to agree that "Westernizing" the story will surely take something away.

RE; Spearheaded by the team behind megahit series Game of Thrones, it transfers most of the action to the United Kingdom and changes the nationalities and genders of some of the key characters.

RE; "Many commenters questioned the motive behind the decision to keep the villain Chinese while the heroes are mostly played by Westerners."

RE; "For 3 Body devotees, though, the scene is key to understanding the motivations of the series' antagonist.

If this is the case, it would completely alter the tone of the book."

From the trailer I expect this to be another case where a well know "Tittle" is taken and turned into a ghost of the original.

Think, Will Smith's I Robot or the terrible Apple version of Asimov's Foundation Trilogy.

RE; Other fans have warmed to the faster and simpler plot, which they say makes the work more accessible and appealing to the general public.

I guess this mean dumbed down. Which is surprising because GOT was enthralling because of the complex, interwoven plot.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I turned it off after trying to watch the first episode. The casting made it look like a remake of Friends, but with all the characters portraying attractive and young hipster physicists. Completely unconvincing. The part set in China was very believable, sadly enough, but it seemed the focus was on the Western cast.

I may give it another try, as the GoT producers made a great show as long as they were provided source material. It was only after they ran out of the book material that it tanked. That won't happen here, as the book is finished.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I have only seen the trailer for the Netflix's series, but have to agree that "Westernizing" the story will surely take something away.

RE; Spearheaded by the team behind megahit series Game of Thrones, it transfers most of the action to the United Kingdom and changes the nationalities and genders of some of the key characters.

I just watched a YouTube comparison of the two by a North American of Chinese descent, who had also read the books, and she was of the opinion the Western one was done quite well, and was faithful to the characters in the books.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The show starts in the 1960s, with an ugly scene from the Cultural Revolution in which a physicist is killed by a mob for refusing to disown key scientific theories.

The Sophons are a good metaphor for this and show the power of sci-fi to illuminate socio-political-economic issues.

Now if they have the guts do the anarcho-communist space opera masterpiece The Culture by Iain Banks.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2008/feb/09/fiction.iainbanks

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

enmaai-san, Funny, I've never had a problem with Chinese people. I get on with them well. The country's politics are a different story. But the same could be said about the U.S.A. and Japan.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Funny, I've never had a problem with Chinese people. I get on with them well. The country's politics are a different story.

I like Chinese people in general. They are direct, but you know where you stand. The government on the other hand...

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Ahh, boo hoo! Mainland Chinese outraged by the series.

the casting once again shows that Americans are (political) ideologues

But no complains about the books been complete Chinese ideologies, almost to the point of resembling cult ideologies. Most people would prefer to enjoy the plot.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

All novels get simplified and altered for the screen. If you are very lucky, as an author, you get to be part of the adaptation. Usually they just hand you some cash and ignore you. That's why most adaptations are so poor. Your best shot is to write filmic sequences with one eye on adaptation. Quite a few authors are now doing this, hoping that Netflix will step in with a cheque.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@BertiWooster

Well... good for you.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Absolutely loved it. Some serious jaw-dropping, mind-blowing moments. Chinese people should be celebrating this triumph of sci-fi written by one of their own, not nit-picking their low-resolution politics into it. Take a night off for a change and enjoy a story and concept that has captivated the world. Can't wait for the next episodes, totally hooked.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Chinese people like many other Asian countries have no problem being racist against other people especially people of African descent. Now that they perceive themselves as being treated like Black people, it is a problem.

"It is not a problem, until it happens to you!"

Does anyone really care what the Chinese think, if they think so, so what?

Interesting but accurate description of appropriation!

Hmmm

Once again, welcome to be treated like Black people. Has anyone noticed all the Black people in the new DC movies and Disney Star Wars on Disney+ shows being promoted as the main antagonist to all the White protagonists? 

No, I think most people just watch a movie for the pure enjoyment of it, but sadly, Disney has taken all the fun out of that. Even George Lucus is showing a lot of regrets these days.

That being said, I enjoyed the series despite the plot holes.

The series is pretty good.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Just yesterday I realized the 30 part Chinese production is on Amazon Prime. I watched the first episode which seemed pretty good. I did read the first book in the series a few years ago. It certainly is a tough novel to adapt for TV.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'd like to see Hollywood scrap the all-inclusive every race must be represented in every movie they make to one where if it's a Chinese story like this one, keep the whole cast Chinese.

If it's about a group of friends from the San Fernando Valley, keep it more realistically an all-white cast. Same goes for a group of Latino friends - you don't need to throw in a white boy or a black cousin with a sense of humor into the movie.

They really need to stop with this throwing in people of other races or ethnicities to fullfill the multi-race quotas. Movies no longer even qualify for an Academy unless they do this.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The Netflix version suffers from the standard inability of the scriptwriters to express emotion except through the use of obscenities. Academics, as a rule, are educated and intelligent people with impressive vocabularies. This is reflected in the infrequent use of profanity, especially in the work environment where the game is to impress. The academic who smokes is also a very, very rare individual. Until Netflix can get the basic traits of its characters correct, show like this will remain unwatchable. The swearing, shouting, smoking, violent yob is the default Netflix character. It is time They found scriptwriters with more imagination.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I like that this is clearly highlighting the fact that many foreign websites are prohibited in China. The Chinese are not even allowed to view Netflix but they still are hyper aware when something on it is or isn't to their liking. The CIA is probably loving this.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Gareth MylesToday  03:17 pm JST

The Netflix version suffers from the standard inability of the scriptwriters to express emotion except through the use of obscenities. Academics, as a rule, are educated and intelligent people with impressive vocabularies. This is reflected in the infrequent use of profanity, especially in the work environment where the game is to impress. The academic who smokes is also a very, very rare individual. Until Netflix can get the basic traits of its characters correct, show like this will remain unwatchable. The swearing, shouting, smoking, violent yob is the default Netflix character. It is time They found scriptwriters with more imagination.

Intelligent people don't swear and engage in risky behavior? Really?

A lot of studies say that intelligent people actually swear more. https://www.sciencealert.com/swearing-is-a-sign-of-more-intelligence-not-less-say-scientists

I think they show one of them as a smoker and another smoking marijuana, drinking, and in a lot of one night stands. So that's basically half of them. Academics may smoke cigarettes less but in my experience some drink, smoke marijuana, and are hardly celibate or faithful.

Overall, I found the 1st season a little underwhelming. It starts off strong but falters halfway through with a lot of meaningless conversations. It picks up a little near the end. They did get into the Fermi Paradox and Dark Forest theories that form the basis of the novels. I will give season 2 a shot.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

owzerToday  07:16 am JST

Spearheaded by the team behind megahit series Game of Thrones...

That's all we need to know. Hard pass.

GOT was well written until the infamous season 8 but Benioff and Weiss can't be completely blamed as George Martin never finished writing the last book in the series as he's been promising for close to 20years. They had the benefit of the books as reference until the last season but if the author gives you nothing then you're left to your own devices to finish. They deserve some blame but not all of it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@NotThe One ARE YOU SURPRISE AT WHAT THE CHINESE DO! ANYTHING TO GAIN THEM FAVOR THEY WILL IMITATE AND COPY!! That is the Chinese way When you sleep they creep before you know it they claim it!

Chinese people like many other Asian countries have no problem being racist against other people especially people of African descent. Now that they perceive themselves as being treated like Black people, it is a problem.

"It is not a problem, until it happens to you!"

One Chinese reviewer likened the series to "a plate of General Tso's chicken", a Westernised Chinese dish that can be used as a metaphor for inauthenticity and cultural misunderstanding.

Interesting but accurate description of appropriation!

Many commenters questioned the motive behind the decision to keep the villain Chinese while the heroes are mostly played by Westerners.

Once again, welcome to be treated like Black people. Has anyone noticed all the Black people in the new DC movies and Disney Star Wars on Disney+ shows being promoted as the main antagonist to all the White protagonists?

That being said, I enjoyed the series despite the plot holes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I read the books, and enjoyed them, but they could have been condensed, IMO. I have been reading SciFi most of my life, and I thought they were unnecessarily slow. I saw the Chinese TV adaptation of the books, and thought it was slow. The Netflix adaptation of the books is very good, IMO. There is no reason why my opinion should count more than anyone else's, but that is mine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

[ "The original works have a huge influence. Many fans of the books know all the details of the characters in the books by heart, so they have a hard time accepting changes," Li Dongdong, founder of Chinese sci-fi film community Geek Movie, told AFP.

Spearheaded by the team behind megahit series Game of Thrones, it transfers most of the action to the United Kingdom and changes the nationalities and genders of some of the key characters.

One Chinese reviewer likened the series to "a plate of General Tso's chicken", a Westernised Chinese dish that can be used as a metaphor for inauthenticity and cultural misunderstanding. ]

I guess I’d be upset too. I (still) didn’t read the book(s) and I didn’t watch the show from Netflix but this hard sci-fi masterpiece is one of the best things to come out of China (pretty amazing that this was written in 2006 and translated in 2014(?), I mean, it was just a few years ago); the author, Liu Cixin, is the “Arthur C. Clarke of China” and the series, as the article says, is the crown jewel of Chinese sci-fi so, of course, if you’re Chinese and deeply invested in Liu’s work, you tend to criticize because you’re more “strict” than the average viewer in the west; the political tension between the US and China probably has something to do with the way some Chinese people look at this adaptation but overall I’d say that not everything’s bad—many Chinese acknowledge the fact that more people will read this brilliant trilogy (The Three–Body Problem, The Dark Forest and Death’s End) because of Netflix and that this adaptation (some people say it’s good, some people say it’s badsame thing happens with pretty much everything else on TV) will make the ThreeBody more accessible to those who, for some reason, were not able to finish the books.

Other fans have warmed to the faster and simpler plot, which they say makes the work more accessible and appealing to the general public.

"Netflix's adaptation makes me really understand the charm of this sci-fi work for the first time," 31-year-old Beijing sci-fi fan Harry Zhou told AFP, admitting that he had tried and failed to finish the original books several times.

The show's popularity has also brought global attention to Liu's work and Chinese sci-fi in general.

"I am sure that more people will reread the original story after watching this," famed Japanese game creator Hideo Kojima posted on X.

"People in other countries can now see that Chinese writers are capable of writing great sci-fi works. This will boost the presence of Chinese sci-fi," Zhou said.

Netflix's involvement is seen as a vote of confidence in the genre.

"Chinese sci-fi is getting recognition with real money investment... it's a huge encouragement for the Chinese sci-fi creator community," said Geek Movie's Li. "It's a small step for (Liu Cixin), but it's a big step for Chinese sci-fi creation."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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